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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Three and Toads

I have no idea why toads popped into my head, but I went with it!  These toad slippers are a hoot, and this little guy is another great example of amigurumi.

Hard to believe we are down to just three days before my blog post for National Crochet Month! Leave me some suggestions on my Facebook page of what you'd like to see next!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Four and Food

Maybe I'm just hungry, but some of these crocheted food items actually look good enough to eat!  Like this Strawberry Angel Food cake, and these fruits and veggies look pretty good too.  And, if you're feeling adventurous, how about a taco?  And what's a meal without a little dessert :-)

Mmm, I really am hungry!  Ok, well off to get some real food, and hope you enjoyed Day 4 of the Countdown :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Five and Fairies

Ok, five days until my CGOA blog post for National Crochet Month!  And, I've decided to post each day until then and to use the opportunity to curate and introduce you to some amazing crocheted items I've been coming across lately.  I wish I had the time and ability to create all of the wonderful ideas that pop into my head, but since that's not realistic, the least I can do is share other crocheters' amazing patterns and creations.

So, today's theme is the fairy doll.  I loved my pink glittery wand as a child, but this crochet wand and tiara are pretty sweet!  And I love these doll patterns posted by Crocheting Crab and Ana Paula Rimoli.  Using the amigurumi technique to create stuffed dolls is really much easier than you probably think -- all it involves is doing the single crochet stitch in rounds, increasing and decreasing to create the shapes you want.  Give it a try and post your creations on our Facebook page!

Monday, February 25, 2013


It's almost National Crochet Month!  And I'm excited to announce that I am going to be a part of CGOA's National Crochet Month Blog Tour, so I hope you will come back here on March 3rd for a special post.  Here's the list of all contributors:

I'm especially excited about the special charity that we are supporting:  Project Night Night.  It's sad to think about so many children without permanent homes, but we can do our part to help!

Ok, so let the countdown begin!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yarn Does Not Spoil and More Grannies

For those of you with stashes as large as mine, you're probably glad to hear that ;-)  But, all kidding aside, I got to thinking about the choices we make in pursuing our dreams.  And, how some have it much harder than others.  I was thinking about an acquaintance who just started her own baked goods company.  She still has a full-time job, but she apparently gets up early and bakes, then goes to her job, then bakes some more when she gets home.  And, she just bought an industrial-size mixer/blender, which cost thousands of dollars!  Whew.  A friend said to me, "but Phyllis, you're doing the same thing."  I said no way -- sure, I sneak in as much crochet here and there as I can, but it's not like I have to do it by a timer, in just one room, and can't take it with me.  Plus, I don't have to worry about my ingredients going bad.

For those of you thinking about starting your own business on the side, keep this in mind!  I'll be continuing my series of small business tips in the coming weeks, but this seemed like an insight I had to share right away ;-)

And, I wanted to share a new eBook offering by AllFreeCrochet: Never Ending Granny Afghans: 8 Crochet Patterns with Diagrams & Video Tutorials.  And, it's free!

The granny square patterns provided in the eBook come with easily understood instructions, and each granny square afghan comes with a diagram and video to really help out.  I know, there are a lot of free granny square patterns out there, but here's a really nice collection all put together for you.  It's worth a look if you're in the mood for some afghan crocheting!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine's Crochet Rose

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Hope you have a beautiful, happy day.

And the best way to create such a day?  Crochet some roses.  Here's a great pattern shared by Petals to Picots, and she's got a really beautiful blog site, so check it out and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Both the squares and the special person behind them!  On Sunday, I got together with Karen who contacted me about helping her finish a project that her grandmother had started but never finished before passing.  And what she brought out was amazing!  Granny had created 111 granny squares from a kit she had bought at Sears many (many) years ago.

The kit calls for either 96 or 130 squares depending on the afghan size you want to make, so Karen's decision now is whether to go with the smaller version and have some squares left over or try to finish the missing squares.

Here they are, all laid out!  Since there's not that much yarn left from the original kit, and I seriously doubt we'll be able to find matching yarns, I'm thinking she should make use of the squares she has and use any leftovers for a pillow, etc.  What do you think?  Either way, she's going to have a great keepsake from her granny :-) 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Gluten Free Scones Recipe

I haven't written about my adventures in gluten free baking in a while, probably because I haven't really been doing that much recently.  But, mom's been craving scones so off to the kitchen I went.  My mom is gluten free, and I've found that I feel better too when I avoid wheat (they do say there's a hereditary component).

I started with this original recipe on the King Arthur flour website.  But, of course, I can't leave well enough alone, I've got to start experimenting!  While I was in our local Safeway, I found this Almond Blend flour by Gluten Free Mama and decided to use that instead because almonds are such a good source of protein and good fats*, and the flour seems to yield a little sweeter taste for baked goods.  Then, I kept playing around with the butter (1 stick?!  yikes!) by taking away butter and adding apple sauce and plain yogurt instead (the scones did come out moister), and here's what I've come up with:

1 1/2 cups of Gluten Free Mama Almond Blend
1/4 cup corn flour (I use Red Mill Whole Grain Corn Flour)
1/4 sweet sorghum flour (Red Mill again)
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup maple syrup
2 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
sprinklings of ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove
 1/4 cup organic apple sauce
2 Tbsp regular plain yogurt
1-2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup dried canberries
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cold milk
1 tsp vanilla or another extract (orange works well too) (gluten free)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. I have a non-stick scone pan with 8 slots but I've also used a mini-muffin tin, which yielded about 24 mini scones.  I don't grease the pan, but you might want to add a little oil or butter to prevent sticking.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and spices.  Then, add the apple sauce, yogurt and butter and work the mixture til it's crumbly.  I usually start out using the whisk, then just start working it with my hands.  Mix in the nuts and dried fruit.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, and extract.  Add to the dry mixture, stirring until well blended.  The dough will be "cohesive and very sticky".  To me, it was kind of blended and lumpy, but it did have a stickiness to it, so you'll know when it feels right.

Drop the dough into the scone pan or baking tin (I used a big spoon to scoop up some dough and smooth it into the tin.  Let the scones just sit there for about 15 minutes (actually, this is usually when I preheat the oven, so while the oven is heating up, the scones are resting).

You can sprinkle the scones with a little sugar and/or cinnamon.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (less if you are using the mini-muffin tin), til golden brown.  Let the scones sit outside the oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  Mmmm, mmmmm!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mad Scientists

I'm in the D.C. Metro system all the time, but yesterday, this ad caught my eye:  "If mad scientists can endanger the world, then nice scientists can save it."  What a nice sentiment.  And, I think it holds true for so many different areas.  Now, I can't think of any mad crocheters or knitters, but we sure have a lot of nice ones who do a lot of good in the world, and this ad got me thinking again about some new charitable projects I want to work on this year. 

Since the Homespun Yarn Party is coming up again on March 24th, I thought one of the projects I could work on would be for HomeStretch ( a 501(c)(3) that serves homeless families in Falls Church, VA. They will be collecting hats for adults and children. You can drop off your hats at the Knitters and Crocheters charity table.  If you prefer, they will also accept other cold weather wearables, such as mittens, gloves, socks and sweaters.  And, if you get a chance to de-stash, they'll gladly accept yarn too!

Homespun Yarn Party - Savage, MD - March 24, 2013